W.Va. Board of Education Member Honored for Wellness Efforts

August 29, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Barbara Fish, a member and former president of the West Virginia Board of Education, has been honored by the West Virginia State Medical Association for her leadership in promoting school-based wellness programs and creating a healthy environment for students, faculty and staff.  

“I am honored to be recognized for an issue that is so important to me and the state Board of Education as health and wellness,” Fish said. “We are facing an obesity epidemic in our state. It is vital for students and parents to understand how serious the lifelong complications of obesity can be. Schools can really make a key difference in student health and wellness.”

The West Virginia Board of Education is in the forefront in promoting student health across the country. State Board of Education policy has long prohibited the sale of sodas in elementary and middle schools and limited their sale in high schools. Forty-two counties have further increased their own wellness standards by prohibiting the sale of all soft drinks in their high schools.

Recent state updates also prohibit the sale of caffeinated beverages and require that only healthy drinks be sold. Further, West Virginia now prohibits the sale of candy or chewing gum and limits what is sold in vending machines and when they can be turned on so that they don’t interfere with school lunches.

By adopting such policies, the state school board hopes to increase the likelihood that students will consume healthy foods and increase their physical activity each day.  

Fish, a former teacher who chairs the state board's Wellness Committee, has been a proponent of health and wellness issues during her tenure on the board. In 2005, she was appointed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies to serve on the IOM's committee on Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools. Their landmark study, “Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth,” was issued in 2007. 

Fish was recognized for her efforts during the recent West Virginia State Medical Association Officer Installation Luncheon in White Sulphur Springs.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

Photo available: http://wvde.state.wv.us/boe/fish.html